Even though concrete is the world’s most highly used construction material, scientists have failed to understand very important fundamental aspect of the material, until now.
A group of researchers from MIT, Georgetown, and CNRS in France believe they have finally figured out whether or not concrete is actually a solid, continuous material, like stone, or a group of materials that are packed so tightly together that they only act like a continuous material. The team found that although there is always a smaller particle that fills open space in the concrete (which would make it a continuous material), concrete never really stops moving, which is why it’s susceptible to cracking and degrading.
So what’s the big deal about a bunch of science junkies looking at concrete through some microscopes and figuring this out? This research could lead to better, more environmentally stable concrete. Because concrete is so widely used and it takes so much heat to cook limestone for cement mixtures, it is the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases. Optimizing the cement mixture makeup to coincide with this new research data could not only reduce the amount of heat necessary, it could also lower the amount of water needed.
Speaking of water, it’s been widely accepted that the freeze-thaw cycle of water inside the concrete causes cracking as the water expands, but the team says that’s not actually the case. Water can actually enter through pores which range in size from 15 to 20 nanometers (read: super small, one nanometer is one-billionth of a meter) and the water alone causes cracks and further concrete degradation without the help of freezing.
Full story: Riddle of cement’s structure is finally solved | MIT
A couple of years ago, we shared an article about how Los Angeles was painting certain asphalt roads with a light, paint-like material made by CoolSense. Their hope was that it would reduce heat island effect in the warmest part of their city. A recent study has found that the coating may not actually have the effect that the city was hoping for.
Mass timber buildings have been a bit of a hot topic in the construction industry for the past few years, especially after Oregon became the first state to approve mass timber buildings up to 18 stories high, which was closely followed by the International Code Council approval of the same height in 2018.
If you didn’t know, the Netherlands loves pedestrian and biking bridges. Perhaps because of that, they seems to have become a leader in 3D printing bridge technology.
I’ve been very fortunate over the course of my relatively short career in construction to spend time focusing on many different aspects of construction. I recently spent about two and a half years working in site development and Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) compliance on a national scale and I wanted to share some of the insights that I gained from that experience.
In 2016, Elon Musk and Tesla announced that they had developed an innovative solar roofing tile that looks almost identical to traditional roof shingles currently on the market. Standard solar panels look be large and clunky on a roof, which made many excited about a nearly “invisible” solar tile option. After 3 years, we recently got a major update into how the installations of the product is going.
On Thursday, April 18th, the New York City Council passed what they are calling “NYC’s Green New Deal,” which legislators hope will greatly reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. In order to achieve those results, several mandates included in the legislation will have major effects on the construction and real estate industries.
Almost 7 years ago, construction began on the west side of Manhattan’s $20 billion mixed-use development. On March 15, 2019, Hudson Yards, as the development is known, has officially opened.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, was completed in late 2017. The impressive structure had a hefty price tag of $1.4 billion, but it has already played host to several of the biggest events in sports, including the 2018 College Football National Championship and the recent 2019 NFL Superbowl. In addition to playing a large role in the sports world, it’s also playing a large role environmentally for the area surrounding the stadium.
A new 21-story apartment building proposed for Milwaukee, Wisconsin as received unanimous approval from the City Plan Commission. If built, the new tower could possibly be North America’s tallest mass timber building.
The USGBC recently released their 2018 ranking of the Top 10 US States for LEED construction, which is sorted by Gross Square Footage per Capita. That ranking system allows them to get a fair comparison of states, despite differences in population and number of buildings.